“ How good is the food?!” my friends chorus as we all meet up for dinner in Canggu.
My mates assure me that Poke Poke, opposite Deus carpark is the bomb when it comes to quick wholesome salads. And they are right!
The Poke Concept is a Hawaaiin way of delivering salads.
Packed with nourishment, often with seaweed, endame, avocado, tuna or salmon, and optional rice or quinoa.
The staff get in and use their hands which I always think is a wonderful way to infuse extra energy and love into the food. The happy smiles as the staff provide this nourishing cup of variety is awesome to watch.
I am happy to say the poke bowl has made it to our house and now a regular meal.
Marinade tuna caps is off magnificently with some mayo and wasabi.
On board drinking experiences vary and being the seasoned wine taster that I am, it felt mandatory to try the wine tasting experience on the P & O Cruise as well as the Mix-It Cocktail Experience.
I take this part of my life very seriously (days at sea) and aside from writing travel blogs, dipping in and out of the spa, I will always sign up for a few drinking experiences.
The wine tasting one is fantastic.
So often in life I feel wine is drunk not enjoyed.
The wine tasting enables you to thoroughly enjoy the true experience of wine – the joie de vie, the elixir of the Gods. I love wine so slowing down to have some one walk me through each quality and aspect of the wine, the colour, the aroma, the palette and to tell me the story about the wine maker and his intent on creating the wine is like attending a liquid art gallery.
The ship often shares one or two high end bottles which are beautiful to enjoy. I highly rate the wine tasting, the random people you meet at your table and the funny staff.
A different liquid experience and equally as fun is the cocktail mixing hour. For a modest sum you can make 4 delicious cocktails , have some fun and consume them all!
I found it very enlightening and learned that you can infuse your own vodkas with anything from chillis, to fruit to chocolate eclairs! I also discovered that many cocktails made behind the bar include sugar syrup and explained many so called “hangovers” that hadn’t made sense in the past – now I know they were sugar crashes.
We made an expresso martini, a humming bird, a caprioska and a chocolate one….
A REAL must do if you are at sea for longer than half a day. Don’t second wonder, just do it.
For a bit of fun I thought I would try the cooking school on Gili Trawangan at Sweet and Spicy.
As I said it was a bit of fun.
You get to cook five dishes but eat six.
It was good for me being a nutritionist seeing how food has been bastardised to suit the Western Palate. Loads of MSG (salt) and loads of other things that just are not healthy but it was fun and for two girls in the group it looked like their first cooking experience. Including stirring something in a pot!
We made some green sugar balls in sticky rice…. I think they call this food but I could debate that.
We also made gado gado (frozen vegetables with a chilli peanut sauce).
My favorites were definitely the chicken Lai (recipe from a Lombok village) and the steamed fish.
For all the herbs we used it lacked the same dynamic taste sensations that other countries have in their foods – that or the herbs were old and had lost their kick.
The most fun by far was flaming the chicken.
I had a scary kitchen incident growing up and we accidently torched my friends kitchen when cooking popcorn. The fat caught on fire, then exploded. I ended up with stitches in my leg (after diving through a window to escape) one girl ended up in hospital with concussion and the girl closest ended up with nothing as the flame died down pretty quick! Oh that’s right. She threw water on the burning fat. An absolute no-no.
Anyway getting comfortable with flames in the kitchen was cathartic and fun.
Would I recommend it – sure. It was only 350,000 (35USD) and you got to eat the food. Times were at 11am, 4pm and 9pm.
What a wanderlust weekend playing with my children and hanging out in Woodfordia, planting trees!
A fun WET weekend (apparently the first wet Planting in 18 years)!?
We pitched our tents in the rain on Friday night and head into the festival to try to make the most of the night.
The kids are immediately on the Woodforidan page… you mean “we all get to live happily ever after?”
I am writing two more blogs on the Planting Festival – one on the man behind the festival Bill Hauritz and the other blog about the festival through my children’s eyes.
One of my favourite moments was walking back from planting some sapplings with my son and meeting a new friend, Mel.
Two hours earlier we found ourselves standing around literally in the pouring rain listening to Noni, Peter, Tim and Helen explain plants in the wetlands, the importance of butterflies and the dilemmas of modern day weeds.
Fascinating as it was, I must confess I only caught about 30% of the wonderful knowledge being shared as my imagination was already chasing rabbits in the fields and being distracted with wander…
And I noticed my son wasn’t far behind me day dreaming.
We buddied up with random strangers but after working together planting trees they felt like old mates.
This is a short clip that summarises a beautiful, lusciously wet and green weekend.
Until last year I had no interest in Bali what-so-ever.
My mates had told me stories of great surf, cheap clothes and Bali Belly but aside from the surfing I really had no urge to go and always felt it would be sweaty, smelly and noisy.
I used to think ” Bali is for Bogans with tank tops and tattoos”.
I am so glad my good friends talked me into going for a 4 day filming adventure last June.
WE were there to make a pilot for television station SBS with the goal of getting a thumbs up for a new travel/eating show.
We didn’t get the go-ahead by SBS for the show but it was great fun making it anyway.
Since then I have been to Bali an additional 5 times. And planning my next trip for a few weeks time.
In this crazy fun 4 day trip I stay in a beautiful resort in the Ubudian Hills along side a river in a puri called Puri Wulandar. The views and serenity from the villa are breath-taking.
There is a stillness in the air.
A gentle cool breeze over a warm crisp day.
I adore this resort. Private, integrated into nature, indulgent and green, I rate this resort highly. Stay if you want to reward yourself DO IT!
I have had some of the best food experiences world wide in Bali.
It is definitely a hub of organic and intricate foods. The island’s volcanic soil grow some of the best fruits, nutrition packed veggies and devine seafood. And the farming scene is still very close to organic and traditional although that is changing.
While I was there filming I was priveldged to meet many funky, visionaries and foodies. Real world class foodies.
Johhny Freesh is one such funky, rawatarians. He has a quirky nature and a great little rap song about Dorian Fruit. I enjoy our interview, I enjoy seeing his Dorian Rap. I’m not a hard core rawatarian but if you were, I am sure it would be like meeting one of the industry greats.
Rawatarians only eat raw and dehydrated foods only. Fruit and coconut oil are blended to make a mousse like mix that can be used for tarts and cakes, or ice cream and puddings. There are also rainbow coloured salads, vegetables, sauces, beans and nuts. There are loads of recipes and this new popular movement is suiting many.
Another Foodie God is Ben Richards who has his own cooking and yoga school on the other side of town. Ben has a really nice energy and has people coming all around not just for cooking classes, but also healing. There is a great vibe in his school and I learn a lot about a soulful person in our interview. From Byron Bay, always around food and using it for healing, Ben had moved to Bali 7 years before hand and was in no hurry to leave Bali. Definitely worth looking into if you are after a retreat.
Some of the favourite eat places I sampled this visit round are to become favorites for all future trips.
Alchemy is well known wide and far for it’s organic, raw foods, amazing salads and huge juices. It is well priced and your tastes buds zing. The philosophies of Alchemy are all principles of raw and organic and supporting the local farmer. BIG ticks. It’s become a favorite spot and now whenever I am in town, I will head there to get a raw chocolate dessert, massive bowl of salad or kambucha drink.
The Bridges Restaurant has some of the best views in town, nestled beside the main bridge in to town. If you get a table close to the edge you can hear the running river below and get covered in a light mist. It’s really beautiful and uplifting. And the food is pretty special too.
The main thumbs down for Bali applies for all warmer countries… gastro. Or in this case, Bali-Belly.
I get it most visits to Bali, but usually only an inconvenient bout. I was given a cure-all-gastro recipe once. IT WORKS a treat so if you ever get it , see if you can have this broth made up for you..
Fish HEAD soup
One fish head, one onion chopped, 3 cloves of garlic, a knob of chopped ginger, a handful of coriander and a smidge of parsley. Cover all of it with water and boil until it tastes great – about an hour. Strain and add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Wash your hands well and make sure you pay Ubud a 3-4 day visit.